Q

Going wireless on a Dell

I ordered a Dell Inspiron notebook computer, and would like to go wireless. Will the Bluetooth 56K wireless modem, class 1 work with my Dell? I see this system comes with the base station and an adaptor with an antenna, which apparently plugs into the USB port. It may have been a waste of money, but I also ordered Dell's Truemobile Bluetooth wireless card as an option.
Hey Dude...you're getting a Dell. The good news is that the Inspiron line is a workhorse, and has quickly elevated to become a business standard. The even better news is that the 8600 is packed with multimedia features and capabilities, and can easily handle most of your business and personal tasks (although the 6.9-pound weight makes it a bit of a brick when it comes to haring through airports -- but that it is the price you pay for a large LCD screen and all the bells and whistles. Going wireless is easy, since you can simply plug in a PCMCIA 802.11 card. I assume the base station and USB wireless device were optional, since I see absolutely no reason to take up a valuable USB port on a notebook with a device that is really meant for desktop systems.

I am curious about you reference to a 'Bluetooth 56K modem', since you seem to have inadvertently converged devices. There is such a thing as a Bluetooth wireless card and a 56K modem, but these are separate devices. This notebook should work with a standard Bluetooth wireless card, although I have has some driver problems with earlier 3Com devices that are based on earlier versions of the Bluetooth specification. Also, you mentioned...

ordering Dell's Truemobile [300] wireless card as an option. Our research shows that this is an internal device and not a card, so no one knows just how Blue your wireless communications are unless you tell them! Now, be sure to invest in a Bluetooth printer and perhaps a similarly equipped PDA, such as the Palm Tungsten T3. Or, if you are really stuck on Dell, invest in an Axim X3 with built-in 802.11 wireless and an optional plug-in Bluetooth SDIO module.

This was first published in January 2004

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